Minneapolis police officers condemn Derek Chauvin in open letter to citizens: 'He failed as a human'
'We want to work with you and for you to regain your trust,' the officers wrote
Officers of the Minneapolis Police Department called out former cop Derek Chauvin who was charged for his involvement in the death of 46-year-old George Floyd in police custody. Chauvin knelt on Floyd's neck for almost nine minutes in a video that went viral and sparked outrage not just in the US but across the world.
Floyd repeatedly said he was unable to breathe but Chauvin paid no heed. Besides Chauvin, three other police officers were assisting the arrest and did nothing to intervene as Floyd begged for his life. Ex-officers Tou Thao, Thomas Lane, and J Alexander Kueng were also present at the scene.
Members condemned the disgraced officer via an open letter that they had addressed to "everyone — but especially Minneapolis citizens." The letter read, "We wholeheartedly condemn Derek Chauvin. Like us, Derek Chauvin took an oath to hold the sanctity of life most precious. Derek Chauvin failed as a human and stripped George Floyd of his dignity and life. This is not who we are."
"We're not the union or the administration. We stand ready to listen and embrace the calls for change, reform, and rebuilding. We are with you moving forward. We want to work with you and for you to regain your trust," the letter says. It has been signed by around fourteen police officers.
A spokesperson for the officers, Paul Omodt, who wrote the letter said, "there were many more willing to sign, but the group opted to showcase people from across the PD as well as male/female, black/white, straight/gay, leader/frontline, etc. Internally, this is sending a message."
The majority of the officers hold ranks of lieutenant or sergeant, Omodt said. The department presently has around 850 police officers.
The letter, however, does not mention the three other officers who were charged in connection to the death of George Floyd. All four were fired from their jobs in light of Floyd's death. The officers who did sign the letter say that it represents "hundreds" of other officers and they are looking forward to embrace Chief Medaria Arradondo’s plans to change the department, MPR News says.
According to a lawyer for the Floyd family, Benjamin Crump, "Beyond doubt, he would be alive today if not for the pressure applied to his neck by officer Derek Chauvin and the strain on his body by two other officers. The ambulance was his hearse."
Floyd's niece Brooke Williams called out racism in the US and said, "as long as I'm breathing, justice will be served for Perry," Metro reports. "My uncle was a father, brother, uncle, and a cousin to many. Spiritually grounded, an activist, he always moved people with his words. Those officers showed no remorse as they watched my uncle’s soul leave his body."
"He begged and pleaded many times just for you to get up, but you just pushed harder," she continued. "Why must this system be corrupt and broken? Laws were already put in place for the African American system to fail. These laws need to be changed. Please, no more hate crimes."
A post-mortem examination declared the death of Floyd as a homicide on Monday, June 1.